First Legislators’ Forum Held in Morgantown, Sponsored by Benedum Foundation and WVU

January 25, 2017




Legislative members from the West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates have been invited to attend the 2017 West Virginia Legislators’ Forum on Education and the Economy, a two-day event in Morgantown, January 26-27.

The forum will bring legislative leaders and members of the committees on education and finance in both lawmaking houses together with state and national experts in business and education and with public education practitioners.

The forum is sponsored by West Virginia University and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation in partnership with The Hunt Institute, a nonpartisan center for educational policy and leadership founded by former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt in 2001. The Hunt Institute has presented similar events for legislators, governors and their staffs for more than 14 years.

In conceiving the 2017 Legislators’ Forum, The Hunt Institute engaged with the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative, a broad-based group of education leaders from across the state convened in 2014 by WVU President E. Gordon Gee and Suzanne Shipley, who was then president of Shepherd University.

“High-quality public education is the bedrock of any state’s citizenry,” Gee said. “We have a tremendous responsibility to provide our young people with the tools they need to make their futures – and the future of our society – a bright one.”

WVPEC co-chairs Donna Peduto, director of operations for the West Virginia Board of Education, and Gypsy Denzine, dean of the WVU College of Education and Human Services, hope that the 2017 forum will be the first annual event of its kind in the state. Session topics for the forum include funding models that work for school systems across the country, education as an economic driver in the state and how policy translates into practice in the classroom.

“This is a truly unique opportunity for our legislators to hear from experts in public education about some of the most pressing issues facing our schools and our educators,” said Peduto. “The exciting part is that they will also learn about innovative solutions and new ideas that we can put into practice to help our students.”

“The Benedum Foundation is pleased to support this important event,” said Benedum Vice President Jim Denova. “We believe that this summit is an opportunity for West Virginia policymakers to discuss with national leaders and local experts the best ways to advance the kind of high quality education system that every West Virginia student deserves.”

­The 2017 West Virginia Legislators’ Forum will begin with lunch on January 26 and wrap up with lunch on January 27. Denova, Denzine, Peduto and Chip Slaven of the Alliance for Excellent Education, who is part of an expert panel on Thursday, will be available to speak to members of the media immediately following the event in the Waterfront Room at the Waterfront Place Hotel, where the forum is being held.

Ann Claycomb, Assistant Vice President for Academic & Strategic Communication
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